Apps and web sites
Obviously, that's a bit of an exaggeration because people travelled the world before fancy phone apps and the like, but who'd want to? I remember the days of travelling with reams of paper and brick heavy travel guides. It was awful. Kids nowadays don't know how much we suffered.
So, these are some of the resources I've embraced:
I've only just found out about this app and it's life changing! Previously, I used Google Calendar but Tripit has a couple of features that shit all over Google Calendar (I know Google Calendar isn't for travel planning but it's what I've been using to date).
It's automated. Amazingly automated. With Google Calendar, if you have an email with a date, you can right click and save to your calendar but it has to be in standard date format. Some businesses (I'm looking at you, Airbnb), have fancy formatting that isn't means the dates aren't recognised as dates. Also, US date format vs the CORRECT date format doesn't work well.
Sure, I could manually enter info but I don't want to. I have years and years of experience in data analysis and the one thing that will fuck you up quicker than anything else is manually data entry. Transpose numbers in a date or mistype the time and you could, at best, have to double check everything. At worst, you might end up missing a flight.
The other thing that Google Calendar does poorly is handling different time zones.
Tripit has worked perfectly for me so far. I just forward any travel planning emails to them and it puts it nicely in my itinerary. Then it adds extra information like the weather and a link to Google Maps. You can even automate it further so it scans your email address and updates without you doing anything.
I'm all over that shit.
.There are some travellers who want to see the major tourist attractions then there are some of us (*cough, me*) who love seeing the relics of dead saints and museums of stuffed frogs and the like. So, how do you find the really interesting shit when you travel? Through Atlas Obscura, of course.
Although, I notice they don't have the rock splitting cherry tree in Japan which has been one of the greatest things I've seen in my life!
English - Japanese dictionary app. Obviously not very useful for travel outside of Japan but dead handy inside Japan. Even if you don't want to learn a whole heap of Japanese, if you know hiragana and how to say "Can you please write that in hiragana..." (or just hiragana onegai shimasu and mime writing if you are shit at Japanese like me) then you can look up stuff written in kanji on the menu at any backstreet izakaya and realise you are about to order deep fried fish guts.
Even if you want to learn Japanese, you are not going to know every breed of fish and every food item.
And, to be totally honest, that is all I use this for but, if it saves me eating fish guts or horse balls, it's worth downloading.
I don't have a link but you can do a search on it pretty easily. I've downloaded a few Japanese-English dictionaries and this one is the best I've found.
Because you are going to get bored. I hate complicated games but can amuse myself for hours with Sudoku.
One of those preloaded apps but I have it set up so I have two cities showing - usually home and the city I'm in. Or the city I'm in and the place I'm going next.
I love this site for finding flights because it lets you be amazingly flexible with your dates and destination. I just wish you could be more flexible with your departure city, especially for Europe where you might have a couple of major airports within do-able travel distance.
Warning: I discovered when booking my recent flights, any flight aggregator like this one, Skyscanner, Expedia etc will bring up some super cheap flights through third party booking sites. I was about to click the "purchase" button on one of them -- after all, the flight was super cheap -- when I decided to do a quick search on it. There are heaps of reviews, hundreds of them, saying about how dodgy/incompetent the third party booker was. Like screwing up flight numbers on bookings! I can imagine they'd be fine if nothing goes wrong but, if there is a screw up, I don't want to be dealing with a third party. I wish there was a flight aggregator that only showed airline direct bookings.
My favourite :) And I wanted to sneak my affiliate link in there. You get free credit, I get free credit - got to love that. Plus I just love looking at photos of other people's apartments.
Another affiliate link, with no bonuses but my favourite site for when I want a bit of luxury -- and they have great secret sales.
One of the few insurance companies that lets you extend your policy while you are travelling. I use these guys for all my travel for that reason. I've claimed with them twice and both times they have been easy to work with and have settled my claim quickly.
These are pretty basic apps that come in handy.
- If you are staying at an Airbnb place, it's worth downloading their app, rather than using the website, to make it easy to contact your host if you are running late and stuff like that. It's a pain in the butt though because it updates all the time.
- Tripadvisor guides - I find they can be a bit cumbersome because they list everything. If I can get an app that just covers the best places (by a local) of the places I'm travelling, I'd go with that instead.
- Photo editing apps. I'd never use these at home but they can be fun to play around with if you are bored on the plane.
- Kindle Reader app - I use the app for reading on my tablet more now than I use my actual kindle even at home but sometimes it gets a bit screwy. Also, important tip -- you find the screen brightness in the dropdown menu for changing the text! I didn't realise that for about 6 months of using the app.
They are the ones I use regularly. I don't like having too many apps on my tablet or phone because then I can't find things.
What are your favourite travel apps or websites? Are there any amazing apps I don't know about?
I don't have any special travel clothes. I wear the same things I wear at home.
For short term travel -
- 3 dresses. I wear vintage style dresses and they take up a bit of space, what with those flared skirts and all, but they are cute. I do pack a t-shirt style dress as well.
- Leggings. In case it's cold. Lately, I'm all about the bamboo!
- Cardigans. I probably pack too many. I love me a cardi. Crop cardigans are awesome for travel, they take up less space and you can wear them buttoned over a dress for a different look.
- Tights. Again probably too many but it's a cheap and easy way to add some colour.
- Handbag. I've a fab new one.
- Undies and bras. About 3-4 days worth of knickers, a proper bra and a sports crop.
- Coat if it's going to be cold. Bathers if I'm going to swim.
For longer term travel, all of the above, plus -
- Skirt. You can get these black tube skirts from H&M for about $7. That's usually what I take.
- T-shirts. A couple.
- Hot Chocolate Shoes
I have these shoes in several styles. They are the best travel shoes - cute, comfortable and light to pack. And, believe me when I say comfortable, I mean comfortable. I get blisters and sore feet so easily and I've never had an issue with these. The only thing I'd add is a pair of inner soles. They take up about as much space as a pair of flip flops but look so much better.
- Ankle boots -
Perfect for most situations.
Things I don't pack - well, there's a lot of things but I never pack jeans. I never wear jeans actually. Also, sandals. It's pretty much impossible to get a good, supportive pair that don't look hideous.
- Laptop - I currently have a Lenovo idea pad. It's pretty awesome. I really wanted the red one but they only had it in white :(
- Tablet. I've just got a new phone (a Samsung S7) so might not use this for travel any more.
- USB charger thing.